Burges graduate Tristen Newton shines in first year with Connecticut

UConn's Tristen Newton, left, gets past Villanova's Jordan Longino during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Burges graduate Tristen Newton has been a major factor for the University of Connecticut men's basketball team this year in helping the 27-8 Huskies to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

The Huskies, who are seeded No. 4 in the West Region, play No. 8 seed Arkansas on Thursday in Las Vegas.

How's Newton's season going

The 6-foot-5 senior guard has started 34 of 35 games for the Huskies. He is averaging 10.1 points a game, 4.2 rebounds a game and leads the team in assists with 163 and steals with 40. Newton has one year of college eligibility remaining, which was granted by the NCAA for student-athletes affected by the pandemic.

In UConn's first NCAA Tournament win against Iona, Newton scored four points had four rebounds and six assists and in the team's second win against St. Mary's, he scored 13 points, dished out five assists and had three rebounds.

Prior to UConn

Newton appeared in 78 games for East Carolina University, starting 65, averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and shot 40.4% overall and 31.6% from 3-point range before transferring to the Huskies program. He scored 1,018 points at ECU and was named to the 2021-22 All-American Conference second team.

Last year as a junior, he averaged 17.7 points, 5.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds a game for the Pirates.

Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley congratulates Tristen Newton (2) after Newton scores three points in the first half of a second-round college basketball game against St. Mary's in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

At Burges High School

He played four years on the Mustangs varsity, scored 3,266 points, hauled in 853 rebounds, dished out 472 assists and had 334 steals.

As a senior, averaged 37.2 points (first in Texas, sixth in the country), 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals and led the Mustangs to District 1-5A championship.

He was named the El Paso Times Player of the Year during his time with the Mustangs and was twice named All-State by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

It's all in the family

Newton's brother, Jawuan Newton, played three years of high school with Tristen and played four years of college basketball at Evansville and one year at Southern Illinois. Tristen is the cousin of former UTEP linebacker Alvin Jones and his twin brother Aaron, who is a star running back for the Green Bay Packers and a UTEP alum. Both Alvin and Aaron Jones were star athletes at Burges.

What is being said about Tristen Newton

"I talked to Connecticut coach Danny Hurley and told he had something special in Tristen," said current El Paso High boys basketball coach Luis Celaya, who was an assistant at Burges when Tristen played there. "He has a high ceiling as a player and can play at the professional level. When he was at Burges he always looked to take that big shot in a game. It's no surprise he's doing what he's doing at Connecticut. He has that confidence in himself to do big things."

Said Burges head boys basketball coach Paul Gutierrez, who coached Tristen in high school: "We always knew that Tristen had a high level game. He just needed someone to trust him and believe in him and coach Hurley believes in him. He's always had great vision and great passing skills. His defensive play has certainly been great in college as well, he takes tough charges and his on-ball defense is very good. Tristen has a lot of support here in El Paso, when we got back to school Monday lots of people were talking about Connecticut's win against St. Mary's."

More: All-Region basketball players El Paso high school basketball players earn TABC All-Region honors

Felix F. Chavez can be reached at fchavez@elpasotimes.com; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Burges graduate Tristen Newton helps lead Connecticut to Sweet 16